By Mutsa Makuvaza
THE Zanu-PF Youth League said it was shocked by the passing on of Tionei Melody Dziva, who entered Parliament in 2013 as a 29-year-old and ended her term in 2018.
Dziva was a Proportional Representative MP for the ruling party in that period.
She has succumbed to cancer at the age of 36.
In a statement, Zanu-PF acting deputy secretary for the Youth League Tendai Chirau as a “high achieving go-getter who believed in the supremacy of principles”.
“Zanu-PF Youth League has received with utter pain, shock and grief, news of the untimely demise of one of the revolutionary party’s most promising female cadres, Cde Tionei Melody Dziva, who succumbed to cancer,” said Chirau.
“Cde Dziva was an inspiration to many, young and old alike; a high achieving go-getter who believed in the supremacy of principles. From the time she joined active ranks in ZANU PF politics while a student at the University of Zimbabwe, Cde Dziva never faltered in trailblazing her way through numerous odds and obstacles.
“As a student activist, she held the post of Secretary for International Affairs for the Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions (ZICOSU). In ZANU PF, she rose through the ranks from the District level up to national level, eventually becoming Deputy Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Youth League National Executive.
“At age 28 in 2013, she became part of Zimbabwe’s growing generation of young female parliamentarians under proportional representation,” said Chirau.
Dziva was once a victim of a sexist comment when she was presiding over the National Assembly as acting Speaker when an opposition male MP exclaimed that she was pretty.
Chirau added: “She endured cruel heckling and sexist verbal abuse in the August house, and undaunted, still managed to work her way to the top, making history by becoming the youngest member of the Speaker’s gallery, and at that tender age, would bravely chair parliamentary sessions in the Speaker’s absence.
“Such was her tenacity and determination that she earned due recognition from the Inter Parliamentary Union and the United Nations Economic and Social Council, high-profile entities which she served with distinction.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a cadre so productive, young and in the prime of her life. We have lost a colleague in the fight to ensure that our women and youth receive the highest priority in development planning. We have lost an unstinting proponent of constitutionalism in defence of our morality as a nation.
“We have lost a comrade who constantly reminded us that our collective dream for a prosperous future has its foundation in sound education.”
Dziva, who was pursuing a law degree at the University of Zimbabwe, would have graduated yesterday when President Emmerson Mnangagwa capped the institution’s graduands in Harare.
Said Chirau: “Today however, she has to graduate posthumously with a Bachelor of Laws Degree, what would have been her third degree in remarkable succession. Death has robbed us of even this chance to celebrate her life.
“William Shakespeare could not have been more prophetic when he said “the world is but a stage, where everyone plays a part, and mine a sad one…” Today our sad part in this painful drama is one of grief, as we join the family, relatives anf friends in solemn prayer that Cde Tionei Melody Dziva’s soul finds eternal rest in God’s peaceful arms.
“On my own behalf and on behalf of the entirety of the revolutionary ZANU PF Youth League and its affiliates, I extend my utmost condolences to the Dziva family on the loss of such a young, vibrant life. Go well, Comrade. Go well, daughter of the revolution.
“We will forever cherish the legacy of hard work and determination that you gifted us. The void you left will be tough to fill, and the pain hard to bear. You have gone too soon.”
Dziva was a holder of a degree in Public Administration from the University of Zimbabwe and a Master’s degree in Development Studies. She had finished studying for a law degree at the same university.
Apart from acting as the Speaker whenever Jacob Mudenda and Mabel Chinomona were not present, she was the youngest member of Zanu PF’s central committee.
She was also at one time the acting president of the Inter Parliamentary Union, an international forum where she presided over the 134th IPU Assembly in Zambia, as well as being a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. – Zimbabwe Voice ■